New York Times: "In the White House, Debating How Far to Go in Easing Deportations"

by Joseph McKeown


Given the President ordered Homeland Security "to make immigration enforcement more humane," and the debate continues on how best to do so, it may be worthwhile to glimpse inside a hearing in Immigration Court, which The Washington Post did masterfully earlier this year. Mario Iraheta, an undocumented immigrant and national of El Salvador, is in removal proceedings after he was arrested for drinking and driving. Complicating matters, he has criminal convictions for hit and runs, both misdemeanors for property damage of less than $1,000. He appears via live feed from a detention facility in Farmville, Virginia, since the government often can't afford to transport detainees to their own hearings. The judge is Lawrence Burman, who has about seven minutes to spend on this case that morning. In the court is Iraheta's wife, Maria, and his three children ("'Today will be a new beginning for us,'" he says. "'They will see we are a good family.'") along with his attorney Ricky Malik, who is now representing Iraheta pro bono, after the family's money ran out. See what happens.